Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Microsoft today officially released Dream Scene to all Windows Vista Ultimate customers (such as myself). Nice to see some Ultimate content coming out, and as noted further down below it appears we'll get to see more in the near future.

I was already using the DreamScene preview release and enjoying it (although it was not always stable). Today my Windows Update let me know there's a new "Ultimate Extras" update available:


Needless to say, I updated. There's also a nearly-60MB package of "DreamScene content pack favorites" that showed up later in the day on Windows Update, which contains a set of videos that work with DreamScene.

From the Windows Vista Ultimate blog, here is a portion of the announcement made by Ultimate Director (cool title) Barry Goffe:

"As most of you already know, Windows DreamScene transforms your desktop from a static wallpaper image into a full-motion video. In conjunction with Stardock, we’re pleased to also offer a number of cool, new animated DreamScene desktops, including “Aurora”. Additionally, you can use your own videos as DreamScene desktops or visit Stardock’s Dream.WinCustomize.com website to download Stardock’s DeskScapes (an add-on to DreamScene) as well as a collection of fabulous content created by Stardock and members of the Ultimate community."

It's worth calling out the reference to the Stardock web site, dream.wincustomize.com, which you'll want to visit in order to download dreams for your new Ultimate capability. Also, Stardock's blog entry provides some additional detail.

Also in today's announcement is word that more Ultimate Extras are coming (something many of us have really wondered about for some time, to be honest):

"In addition to the remaining Language Packs, we plan to ship a collection of additional Windows Ultimate Extras that we are confident will delight our passionate Windows Vista Ultimate customers. We will shed more light on these plans once the Language Packs are finally dislodged from our delivery pipeline!"

Great news, and something to look forward to for sure.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007 13:51:52 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Master_Chief_Assembled_by_billybob884 Wow. Like as in that-must-have-taken-forever-wow.

Mike McDermott, who also goes by BillyBob884 at the deviantART web site, has created and built a folded Origami paper (plus a little white glue) model of the Master Chief from Halo.

The final model comes out to be 13" (33 cm) tall, has roughly 2100 faces (+ ~800 for the gun), and is made up of 42 pieces (+ 10 for the gun).

How accurate is it? McDermott says:

"Well, it was an exact rip of the Halo 1 Master Chief model, but I had to take a few liberties in changing little details to make it build-able. But I'd say its like 90-95% accurate. The gun is another story though. It's probably somewhere around the magnitude of 60-75% accurate..."

On the site you can download a copy of the instructions, a PDF file of all the pieces (which you can print out and use to create your very own Master Chief), and the PePaKuRa model file for reference (which you should probably use to determine which tabs go where, as it looks fairly complex - a model viewer is available here).

Oh, and if you actually build it, send me a picture and be sure to let the creator know on his deviantART web site.

Mike has also created a number of other paper models you can try, such as the Halo Ringworld and more. Enjoy. :)

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007 11:03:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It's always difficult to know exactly what it takes to become a better (insert technical role here). So it goes with being a great DBA. Similarly, I can remember way back in my "webmaster" days when I was trying to figure out how to grow in that role, and discovering that the term "webmaster" always seemed to mean something different to each company or organization I spoke with.

That seems to be a perennial problem. Someone defines a general title without having a real solid idea of what the role is. Or, as in the case of the DBA, the job becomes more complex and critical over time, and so needs change and the role becomes more complex. Certainly that happened with the "webmaster role" of the past. Today we have UI experts, back-end programmers, middle-tier developers, content administrators, etc. Times change.

Brad McGehee is a great person to ask about the DBA market: How do you become a DBA? Where do you start? What's the future look like? What exactly is a DBA, anyhow? Well, we interviewed Brad recently for an episode of RunAs Radio and his insights into this world were quite useful.

RunAs Radio - Show #24 | 9/19/2007 (41 minutes)
Brad McGehee On Being a Better DBA

Brad McGehee discusses the career path of a professional database administrator. Often the DBA role is thrust upon an IT professional or developer without much in the way of specific training. Growing into the role is largely a self-motivated exercise. Brad talks about the habits that successful DBAs have, focused on on-going education and working to protect their organizations data.

Side Note: We've recorded more than 25 shows now since we started the RunAs Radio show in April. You can subscribe in iTunes at this link. It's seen more downloads and attention than I could have possibly imagined, and we have much, much more to come. We'll also be at TechEd Europe in Barcelona, Spain this fall and involved in a variety of other upcoming events.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007 08:47:49 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 24 September 2007

I know several people who are heading out this evening to sit, stand, lie and probably roll multi-sided dice in line at stores selling Halo 3 when it releases at midnight. Mine's arriving at my from Amazon, so I won't be in line. Last time I did that (Halo 2), the early-morning drive home ended up with a game of chicken involving a semi truck in my lane. I lost. So tonight I will stray home and relax, knowing my Amazon Prime membership is taking good care of me.

So - are you going to camp out tonight, or not?

Highly-anticipated is such an understatement for this one. You can read the GamePro review here.
I'd like to see the diorama they built for the Believe video series. Where is that thing - and does any part of it actually exist in real life? You can go on a personal tour of it here - very cool.

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Monday, 24 September 2007 09:54:33 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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iphoneheadsetadapter One of the things that disappointed me when I got my iPhone home and unboxed it was the fact that all the headphones I already have won't fit in the headphone jack. The iPhone headphone socket is recessed, so the plug slides inside. Most common headphones with a standard 3.5mm plug won't fit. While the earbuds that come with the iPhone are pretty good, Apple's earbuds have never fir my ears all that well. So, well you get the idea.

But this morning on the JKOnTheRun site, Kevin Tofel points us to an inexpensive and useful adapter that fits into the iPhone's recessed jack and lets you plug your "standard" plugs in without worry. Headsets with microphones built in work, as well.

Best of all, for now it's only $3.95 and the company that is selling it - Helium Digital - is also providing free shipping. I've ordered mine. What a bargain.

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Monday, 24 September 2007 08:47:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 22 September 2007

Today was a very good day to wake up and shop for concert tickets.

At 9am I got my James Taylor tickets lined up. I've been to his shows three times in the past and it's by far the best concert I've been to overall. James Taylor's music is my long-time favorite, and even though he'll be six hours away in Spokane when he plays, it will be great and well worth the trip. Heck, I drove there to see Korn and Rob Zombie once several years ago, so I think I can easily make the trip for this one, heh.

And - just as good and exciting - at 10am I was lucky enough to get floor seats for Van Halen's upcoming concert at the Rose Garden here in Portland on December 1st. It's going to be a fun concert tour for all us 40-year-olds. The last time David Lee Roth performed with Van Halen was when I was a senior in high school (wow, I am getting to be freakin' old):

In what promises to be the most exciting live tour this year, Van Halen is embarking on a national concert tour throughout the U.S. and Canada with its original lead singer David Lee Roth for the first time in 22 years.  Considered by fans and media alike as one of the most highly anticipated tours in rock and roll history, Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen will perform with Eddie’s son, Wolfgang who joins the line-up as the band’s bass player.  Van Halen and Roth have not performed or recorded together since 1984’s classic multi-platinum album “1984” and subsequent tour, making this tour truly a historic event.

Anyhow -- That's a couple events I am really looking forward to. Now if Paul Simon would just drop by for a concert, I'd be completely set and could die a complete musical person, heh.

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Saturday, 22 September 2007 09:56:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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